Supermarkets in Ho Chi Minh City report a sharp increase in sales in recent days and expect a further rise a few days ahead of Tet (Lunar New Year), which falls on February 19 this year.

Co.opmart, for instance, said sales was up by three to four times compared to normal days, especially of confectionery, beverages, cosmetics, and dried food.

Demand for priced-stabilised items like rice, sugar, cooking oil, and eggs and discounted products and processed foods is 60 percent higher than the supermarket had planned for.

It expects sales to rise further from now through the New Year, especially of fresh food such as pork, beef, poultry meat, fruits and vegetables, pork pies, glutinous rice cakes, and pickled vegetables.

Vo Hoang Anh, marketing director of Saigon Co.op, which owns the supermarket, said Co.opmart, Co.opXtra, and Co.opFood stores have stocked large quantities of fruits like watermelon, custard apple, dragon fruit, Hoa Loc mango, and pomelo to meet demand.

The fruits are cheaper than market prices, he said, adding that their quality is also carefully controlled to ensure there are no chemical residues.

Ho Quoc Nguyen, director of public relations at Big C, said the number of shoppers at the French supermarket chain is up three-fold last week.

In the run-up to Tet, especially during weekend and just before the New Year, the number of shoppers will surely increase further, he said, adding that sales this year will be 15 percent higher than last year.

Three weeks ahead of Tet, gift baskets, confectionery, jams, beers, beverages, household utensils, and decorative items are among the most popular items. In the next few days buyers will focus on fresh items like fruits and vegetables, livestock and poultry meat, and seafood, he said.

The supermarket has abundant stocks of fresh food, fruits, vegetables, and other items, he said.

On February 12, it began selling unusual fruits for display during Tet – such as square watermelons, gold bar-shaped watermelons, red pineapples, and wine gourd pomelos. Lotte Mart, sales is up 40 percent now and is expected to rise to 60 percent in the coming days, according to Tran Pham Phuc Nguyen, marketing director of the Korean-owned supermarket.

Fruits, vegetables, watermelons, mangoes, glutinous rice cakes, fresh flowers, confectionery, and jams are most in demand, it said, adding that Tet gift baskets also sold very well, with over 1,500 baskets snapped up so far.

Nguyen said the prices of goods have not increased for Tet, and the supermarket also has promotions to enable shoppers to save more.

As part of a promotion programme in the run-up to the Lunar New Year, Co.opmart chain is selling watermelons, scallops, Da Lat potatoes, white cabbages, onions, sausages, biscuits, and detergents at 5,000 to 30,000 VND lower than market prices until February 18.

It is also slashing prices by up to 50 percent on 4,500 products until the last day of this lunar year.

Big C too is offering discounts of 5-45 percent on more than 2,000 products until February 18.

Besides, shoppers buying goods worth more than 500,000 VND (23.4 USD) will enter its lucky draw.

Similarity, Lotte Mart is offering attractive discounts on thousands of items until February 18.

To meet the Tet rush, many supermarkets have extended their opening hours as well as increased the number of cashiers to ensure convenience and safety during the country's grandest festival.-VNA